Lucy Aharish is an Arab-Israeli news anchor, reporter, television host and actress.
She was the first Muslim Arab news presenter on mainstream Hebrew-language Israeli television.
Aharish was born in Dimona, Israel, to an Arab-Muslim family. Her parents Maaruf and Salwa Aharish were originally from the city of Nazareth.
She is the youngest of three daughters. Growing up, she was the only Arab student at her school. In 2015, Aharish praised her former high school principal Meir Cohen (currently a Knesset member with the Yesh Atid party) for having fostered an uncompromising stance against racism.
In the summer of 1987, a few months before she turned six years old, she was slightly injured while driving in the Gaza Strip by a Molotov cocktail thrown at her family’s car by Palestinian militants.
During her adolescence, she says she was able to relate to right-wing voters: ‘I am an Arab who grew up among Moroccan Jews. That’s the worst. You learn the hard-core shticks; they have a very short fuse. I was a right-wing Muslim, a fan of Beitar (Jerusalem soccer club with nationalistic fans)’. In 2009, she identified with the left.
At university she drifted towards becoming a devout Muslim, but subsequently moved away from religious life.
Career in media
The idea of pursuing a career in media developed after she moved to Jerusalem to study social sciences and theatre at Hebrew University. ‘[O]n Highway 1 I saw Arabs being taken out of a van and made to face a wall, with rifles aimed at them. I felt that no human being deserves that, and then the penny dropped. But it’s also impossible to ignore what the Palestinians are doing.’
After graduating from Hebrew University, she studied journalism in Tel Aviv and then interned for 18 months in Germany.
In 2007, she became the first Arab to present the news on mainstream Israeli television when she was hired by Channel 10.
Aharish, as anchor at i24news, conducted an on-air interview with a Hamas official in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. She accused Hamas of using civilians as human shields and called on Gazan residents to rebel against the Hamas regime.
In March 2020, Aharish began co-hosting the daily edition of the television program ‘Culture Agent’ on KAN 11. She was dismissed three days later because of a staff restructuring related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the corporation. Some suggest she was fired for participating in a rally against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the pandemic.
She married Jewish-Israeli actor Tsahi HaLevi (‘Homeland’ and ‘Fauda’) in 2018, after a four-year relationship they had kept secret for fear of harassment. One Likud Knesset member criticised the marriage as ‘assimilation’, while many other Knesset members, including other government officials, congratulated the couple, writing off their colleagues as ‘racist’.
This is the television broadcast Aharish made on Wednesday:
The main photo is of a poster created by families of victims of Hamas abductions.